Sony Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T 16-35mm F2.8 ZA SSM A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 51    1 2 >>
reviewer#11911 date: Jul-19-2014
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:16-80 (which is just not comparable)
price paid:ex. USD 1400 (new)
positive:Sharpness stopped down is excellent
Distortion is generally minimal and predictable if you use it correctly (I rated it 5, and it probably doesn't quite deserve that, but what A-mount lens is better, even primes?)
Colours and contrast are very pleasing
It feels so nice in your hands on a heavy A900, especially with the silent, fast focus
Zoom range is great and at some focal lengths it is as good as most A-mount primes. At all focal lengths it is at least pretty good compared to primes.
negative:It can be soft in the corners, especially if you don't stop down enough (duh! But it can be an issue if you want to focus on something bottom foreground)
It is heavy
The focus hold button feels tacky compared to everything else
It's expensive and if your budget is stretched and you don't often do what this lens is made for, you'd be a fool to buy it.




comment:I've had this lens a few years but never write a review because I didn't really have anything to compare it with. It was an impulse buy to force me to shoot wide... the shop was out of the 24-70! I am an idiot. At first it was a bit disappointing, but since my photographs with it keep getting better and better I learned that this was mostly me and not the lens. Who knew I was technically such a poor photographer?
What I can say about this lens is that it sometimes produces photographs that will surprise and please like no other. You'll think "How did it do that?" The flare control is excellent (not so great if you want to induce flare, but it can be done) and I think distortion is very well controlled indeed (again not so great if you want funky distortion). I rarely have to correct much for that other than when there is user error or a situation forces me to shoot too close. Interiors, architecture, etc. are where it shines brightest, but it does more than okay as a landscape lens and for groups of people. Stop it down enough if you want everything sharp,please. It's easy to say any lens is good stopped down, but I think you will find that this is better.
reviewer#11900 date: Jul-9-2014
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:ZA2470
Although 24mm on the 1635 is not all that bad, the 2470 does a better job here. This is valid for 35mm as well.
Both are just slightly above average fully open, but are going to be excellent when stopped down to f5,6

Sigma 1224
I used the mark 1 of the 1224 some years ago. In overall I liked it. However compared to the Sony-Zeiss it can't really compete with colors and micro contrast. The big bulb prevents from using filters with it, which is a nogo for many landscape shooters.
price paid:1.200 € new
positive:Very good at 16mm, compatible with normal filters (77mm), low amount of CA, moderate vignetting, SSM AF
negative:If at all - its weight (~1kg)
comment:I love landscapes and architecture, so I was always in need of an ultra wide. A mandatory feature is compatibility with standard filters, as I like to play with long exposures at daytime. For a long time the ZA was not available in Germany and close Europe, so I was happy when I found a retailer having an unused demonstrator in the shelve. :-)

The Zeiss is huge and heavy, but it comes with the capability of delivering fantastic images in terms of color rendition. Zeiss-typicall it has a snappy contrast when stopped down. CA are in most cases a non-issue.
The sweet spot seems to be between f5,6 and f8. For >30mm f8 is a better choice.
Distortion is quite visible at 16mm, but nothing special. Same for the vignetting.
I am using it on my A99 as well as on my A7R (with LA-EA4).
Both FF are dealing excellent with it.
I hope the upcoming FE 1635Z will be of same quality (as I like it lighter for long-distance journeys).



reviewer#11746 date: Mar-27-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:SAL20F2.8, M24F2.8, SAL28F2.8, M35F2.
price paid:1800 EUR
positive:IQ, focus speed, well built, internal zoom
negative:Weight, size, price (obvious)
comment:At 16 mm the extreme corners do not fully sharpen up. Distortion at 16 mm is substantial. But these are non-issues for me. Otherwise I cannot fault this lens. I imagine this will be on the A99 most of the time.
reviewer#11650 date: Jan-30-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 4.4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:500
positive:
missing
negative:
missing
comment:
missing
reviewer#11588 date: Jan-6-2014
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 17-35mm
Minolta 20mm F2.8
Minolta 28mm F2.8
Minolta 24-105mm
Sony 28-75mm SAM
price paid:1800 AUD (New)
positive:Built like a tank,
Lovely Zeiss Bokeh and rendition
Great focusing and handling
negative:Heavy and large.
The corners never sharpen up fully.
Expensive
comment:This lens is the best UWA zoom available for the alpha-mount.

Centre Sharpness is superb, corner sharpness leaves a little to be desired (at any combination of settings).
Flare control is superb and really, really good.
Distortion is a little stronger than what I would classify as superb, but good by standards of zooms.

It can produce lovely images, with that Zeiss feel.
It's sharpe, more contrasty, and better renderung than the Sigma 17-35mm, and the Minolta 28mm F2.8 (an average prime).

The Sony 28-75mm SAM produced sharper corner results when tested at comparable apertures and focal lengths but that would be expected (although it had lower contrast).

I feel that the Minolta 20mm F2.8 produces more amazing pictures in terms of contrast and sharpness in my view and so I am selling the Zeiss in favour of the 20mm.
reviewer#11550 date: Dec-20-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 12-24 first Version zoom
Minolta 20 2.8 prime
Minolta 28-135 zoom
Carl Zeiss Distagon 35 2.8 prime
Leica R 28 2.8 prime
Leica R 35 2.8 prime
price paid:1300€ Used
positive:Everything
I do not use my prime lenses anymore!



negative:Nothing: the price?
I miss the Minolta colors
comment:The Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 16-35mm f2.8 ZA SSM is the best ultra-wide lens since the introduction of the Alpha system. In fact it's also one of only two full format ultra-wide zoom lenses for Sony Alpha available today - the other one is the Sigma AF 12-24mm f3.5-5.6 EX DG HSM or the older version without HSM.

The build quality of the Vario-Sonnar is very good based on a combination of metal and high quality plastic parts.

At 16mm it is easily among the very best lenses out there with an exceptionally high center quality and very good borders. The extreme corners are good at f2.8 - the peak quality setting at 16mm. Diffraction effects aren't noticeable till beyond f11.

The center quality remains great at all other focal lengths but the border and corner quality needs higher f-numbers. You should stop down to f5.6 to reach very good results across the frame. The 35mm setting is clearly the weak spot with soft borders/corners at f2.8. For pixelpeepers, stopping down to f/5,6 makes sense here. I terms of sharpness there are huge differences between the CZ 16-35 and the Sigma 12-24. Ok, the sigma have 122° degrees - but the corners are very very soft at all aperatures (I have 3 copys over the years) and therefor there is no advantage for the sigma.

Here are some information about my copy in case of landscape photography:

With minor less quality in the edges
Very good sharpness 16-20mm >f3.5
Very good sharpness 20-28mm >f3.5
Very good sharpness 28-35mm >f4.0

Sharp from corner to corner
Exellent sharpness 16-20mm >f4.0
Exellent sharpness 20-28mm >f4.5
Exellent sharpness 28-35mm >f5,6

The bokeh at 35mm f2.8 (remember we discuss a ultra wide lens) is very good in my opinion.
reviewer#10879 date: Jan-28-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:CZ 16-80mm Vario-sonar
Sigma 10-20mm
CZ 24-70mm Vario-sonar
price paid:AU$1,275 shop demo
positive:Solid build, fine optics and coatings, constant f2.8 max aperture, quick and silent SSM focusing without lens extension.
negative:Weight and price, but well balanced on camera bodies a900 and a700, especially with VCG.
comment:Superbly crafted ultra wide angle lens, comparable in build and optical quality to its sibling the CZ 24-70mm f2.8. Beautiful image quality, natural colour rendering, very sharp, quick to lock focus.
Consistent with the other CZ Vario-sonar T* lenses I've used, there's an almost polarizing filter 'zing' about the colours and the images are truly vibrant.
Good flare control in outdoor sunny conditions. Slight barrel distortion noticeable on interiors shots at the 16mm end on full frame camera.
A good zoom range for architectural photography, as well as for sweeping landscapes.
On an APSC body the range becomes more of a 'walkabout' 24-52mm equivalent when you need that f2.8 maximum constant aperture in low light.
A big investment but definitely a keeper.
reviewer#10755 date: Dec-4-2012
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 2
overall: 4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:sigma 12-24mm
Sigma 10-20mm
KM 17-35mm
Min 24mm
price paid:
missing
positive:Sharpest of it's class
Wonderful colour
SSM
can create great sunstars
negative:Heavy as hell
Cripplingly expensive
Suction effect with filter on
comment:First impressions, there's little doubt about in my mind, this is the sharpest of it's class, noticeably crisper than it's competition, good even wide open, with decent corners but not the sharpest lens ever (probably should be rated at around 4.25 for sharpness) i.e. it's not going to match the macro lenses but then it's unrealistic to expect it to, as if you start to compare macro lenses to most UWA lenses the UWA lenses will generally look like mush, the CZ still appears crisp.

If you don't need the range and speed then lenses like the minolta 24mm can hold their own against it at around f8 but at f2.8-4.5 the CZ blows them out of the water.

Colours are much nicer than the typical yellow cast of the sigma lenses or indeed the clinical soulless colours from the tamron made lenses.

If you stop down you can create amazing looking sunstars.

Great build quality but for the money I would have liked to see weather sealing. It's nice that it does not extend when zooming but it does create a resistive suction feeling if you have a lens filter on top trapping the airflow.

Like most lenses of it's class it's quite weak to flare, the modern sigma ultra wide lenses like the 10-20 or 12-24 are far more flare resistant but they are unusually good (ironic given I tend to find sigma telephoto lenses more prone to flare than the competition), the flare on the CZ is fairly typical of of it class, lenses like the KM 17-35mm fair no better.

As everyone else has mentioned this is heavy as hell and will cost you a arm and a leg. If you can live with that then go for it, if you want value for money don't even look at it.
reviewer#10749 date: Dec-3-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tamron 17-35 f2.8-4
Sony 20mm f2.8
Tokina 17mm f3.5
Tokina 19-35 f3.5-4.5
Tokina 11-16 f2.8 apsc
Tamron 10-24mm f3.5-4.5 apsc
price paid:1600 usd mint 2 hand
positive:- Sharp across the frame
- Excellent colors
- silent & quick focusing
negative:- Very heavy
- Hefty price tag
comment:I think it's easy to review this lens, because there is nothing better in this class than the CZ 16-35 when you're looking for an ultra wide angle lens to use with Sony's full frame cameras. This is the best UWA lens period if you can afford its hefty price. I give the CZ 16-35 all fives because I only compare it to the lens of the same class. It would not be fair to compare sharpness, flare, distortion to lenses from other ranges and they're built differently and good UWAs is harder to design than 24-70 or primes.

This is the sharpest UWA lens I have used. Excellent center sharpness and the corners will match up stopped down. Colors are excellent and has that neutral Zeiss signature to it. The lens barrel is well made but very heavy.

Barrel distortion is mild at widest angle and can be easily correct in PP or camera's built in correction if you shoot jpegs. CA exists but it's mild magenta/green type that is easily removed in lightroom.

I give 5 for flare because we're talking about UWA lenses and flare is usually the main problem for lenses with such wide angle. CZ 16-35 handles flare very well. You can still see some ring flare and ghost bobs here and there when strong light sources are in the frame but it's much better controlled and looks not quite ugly than other alternatives. When presented with strong light coming directly, CZ 16-35 still maintains surprisingly great contrast and colors, while other lenses suffer.

The Tamron/Minolta 17-35 flares a LOT! By a lot I mean the flare streak can be so ugly I discard the images. Contrast is reduced. The Tokina 19-35 suffers a lot from flare, it can be so bad the images are blown white and destroys the contrast.

The Tokina 17mm f3.5 is very well resistant to flare, good sharpness although lacks just a bit behind this CZ. The problem is slightly wavy mustache distortion which can be seen sometimes. And the way it renders colors is thicker like oil paint. The CZ gives more lifelike and neutral tone.

Sony 20mm f2.8 is also an excellent alternative. The color rendition is closer to this CZ16-35 than others. Good sharpness across the frame and good resistant to flare. Slight reduction of fine micro contrast details compared to the CZ and I only observe mild distortion. The only problem is it doesn't go as wide as 16mm but if you can live with this limitation, it's a good choice and much lighter than 16-35.

In conclusion, if you're serious about landscape, photojournalism, and ready to invest for the best possible UWA currently available to alpha FF cameras. The 16-35 CZ is the only choice. And don't compare this to 24-70 CZ as it's totally different type and serves entirely different purposes. As Exif info from images that win Reuters' 2012 photos of the year reveals, most images are shot with 16-35 lens, followed by 70-200, while so little is made with 24-70 which the editors seem to consider boring angles.

See my photos with Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T 16-35 F2.8 ZA SSM at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lifeispixels/collections/72157628204412995/
reviewer#10644 date: Nov-3-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Not compared to any other lens.
price paid:
missing
positive:Build quality
IQ
CA control
Does not extend when zooming
A gem to use on a full frame camera
negative:heavy but then that is expected from a quality lens
fringing when you have a UV and CP filter on at the same time.
Expensive but worth every penny
comment:This lens has transformed my landscape and church photography. The quality of the images is produces are outstanding. It is a heavy but solid lens and works well with my A850 and A99.

It is expensive but in my mind worth every penny.

The link below will take you to my Flickr set dedicated to this lens.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/slawrencephotography/sets/72157632147898030

Si
reviewer#10374 date: Jul-13-2012
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:CZ 24-70
price paid:1600 USD (new)
positive:Color
Contrast
Fast and silent AF
negative:Weight
Distortion
comment:I love the internal zoom and the very short minimum focus distance. Paired with B+W UV filter since day one and have almost no vignetting at 16mm.

The best wide zoom for Sony Alpha. Period.
reviewer#10052 date: Mar-23-2012
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:24-70 cz
price paid:$1250AUS
positive:SSM
Solid lense
negative:Tends to miss focus
comment:Had a really good experience with the 24-70cz and wanted the same with the wider angle, so I went for it.

Really happy with this lens, great colors and beautiful images. Just doesn't seem to have that same pop as the 24-70cz but I still love the results.

I do have a slight issue with focusing a it often misses the mark and needs manual adjustment. Not sure if it's due to using it on the A55 but I really want to try it on a new FF when released. When focus is hit, images are sharp.

Obviously weight is an issue, but that's something I'm willing to live with.

Highly recommended.
reviewer#10049 date: Mar-22-2012
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:24-70 cz
70-200 Minolta
135 cz
price paid:1299 (new)
positive:All, and that is not what I expected.
build, focus speed, F2.8 all the way.
negative:none.
comment:There are no negative's for me.
And that has one reason, I use DXO module.
Vignetting gone.
Sharpess, good.
Distortion gone.
And then go to LR.
I bought this lens, because off this program.
By the day, I get more happy with this lens.
And my 24-70 cz I use less.
But this review is for apc, I hope it does also well on the A99.
reviewer#9836 date: Jan-23-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 35/1.4G
price paid:GBP 1200
positive:Build quality
Focus speed and accuracy
Very flexible focal length
Constant 2.8
Awesome sunstars if you stop down
negative:Distortion
Some ghosts
Vignette at 16mm
comment:I *love* this lens.

Build quality is exceptional. The zoom ring is stiff but smooth. The lens doesn't extend at all when zooming or focusing. The filter thread doesn't rotate, nor does the focus ring. The focus ring is perfectly geared if you want to do video or manual focus on film cameras which don't support SSM. The whole thing is a solid metal tank. Even the lens hood is metal.

I took mine across Peru for a month. It went through extreme cold (-20), direct sunlight, dusty high altitude mountains, the amazon river and rainforest, got caught in a torrential storm etc. Not a single problem ever. Every single picture was sharp, focused and beautiful. The lens and my a850 got seriously wet for 2 hours in a rain storm. Even though it doesn't claim weather sealing, no problems at all.

The lens is sharp and SUPER contrasty. Zeiss have done something amazing with lens coatings, because it is VERY hard to make this lens wash out and lose contrast. The amount of detail it captures in a wide view is absolutely amazing, and the contrast brings out a lot of texture.

I find the colour balance quite cool and blue. Especially compared to the 35/1.4 and 85/1.4. I checked this with an X-rite colorpassport, and sure enough there is about 200K difference in white balance between the lenses. For landscapes, this is great, but not so much for portraits - although of course you can correct them later.

16mm is amazing for interiors, landscapes or anything else you want to capture. There is inevitable distortion though. 24mm is standard "wide" on full frame, and performs amazingly well with almost no distortion. 35 is probably the weakest performance of this lens, with more distortion and worse corner performance at 2.8.

There is some vignette at 16mm, as you would expect. But the details are still there, so it's easy to recover in post-process. The extreme corners have a kinda "tearing" effect where the subjects are distorted. This isn't really a fault of the lens, since 16mm is ultra-wide. As Kurt Munger showed, if you distortion correct the corners, the detail is still there.

You get awesome 18 point sunstars when stopped down to f16 or f22. If you shoot right into the sun, you will get some multi-coloured ghosts across the image. But actually I think they look ok - quite attractive as far as flare goes. It doesn't ruin or wash out the image either.

With steadshot enabled, you can hand-hold this lens for ages. 1/4s at 16mm is no problem at all if you hold the camera still.
reviewer#9586 date: Nov-14-2011
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 16-80 f3.5-4.5 ZA
price paid:
missing
positive:Build, SSM, Constant f2.8 Aperture, AF accuracy
negative:Having a filter on causes a "suction" effect when zooming from 16mm and 35mm. Otherwise, none.
comment:This Zeiss lens is a great companion to my Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 24-70 f2.8 ZA SSM. When compared to my Zeiss 16-80 it is quite apparent that it's focus is by far more accurate at the 16mm end than the Zeiss 16-80. I suspect that having an f2.8 aperture helps since the f2.8 sensor is activated on my A700 when using this or any lens that has a constant f2.8 aperture. I also feel that the SSM also is a more accurate way to focus the lens than the original screw-drive system when the lens has a very short throw.

Sharpness is great. However, as usual I will give it only a 4.5 since it is not a prime lens and the sharpest lens I have is truly my Sigma 70 f2.8 EX DG Macro. Color is great and quite neutral and contrast is excellent. Naturally, there is some barrel distortion on the wide end even with an APS-C sensor and flare control can be a problem depending on the photographic situation.

The Build is great as is the SSM. My only beef with the lens is that when you put a filter on a "suction" effect is created when turning the zoom ring from 16mm or 35mm. Take the filter off and there is no problem. This is due to the fact that the front element retracts back then forward during zooming behind the filter threads. No big deal. I just found it an odd feeling on the zoom ring is all.
reviewer#9366 date: Aug-27-2011
sharpness: 2.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 3.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:KM 17-35
CZ 24-70
70-200G
100 macro
135 STF
price paid:£1300
positive:Fast and silent AF
Colours
Doesnt extend when zooming
Poor IQ at 16mm
negative:No better than my KM 17-35 that i was intending to replace. The corner sharpness is better, but at f/11 - f/13 its not as sharp as the KM.
comment:I waited 2 years to get this lens and less than 48 hours after owning it, it was returned and my money refunded. Its just not that good at 16mm. 20mm and beyond its suoerb, but alot of my shooting is at 17mm.
reviewer#8561 date: Jan-25-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:1300 EURO
positive:sharp, versatile in crowded spaces, good color
negative:heavy, expensive, bulky, you need to be very close to your subject
comment:a very nice lens for crowded spaces. the sharpness is such that images can be cropped quite a lot when you want to. the best way to use it is to get as close as possible though, and that is really close indeed.

it takes some time to get used to, when you start you tend to stay to far away of your subject. once you get the hang of it, it makes it possible to obtain shots that cannot be made with standard focal lengths.
reviewer#8548 date: Jan-20-2011
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 1
overall: 3.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 12-24
price paid:1800 USD (new)
positive:Fast focus
Sharper than the Sigma
negative:Flare and allot of it
The little button on the side of the lens for focus is easily switched
comment:I bought this lens as a replacement for the Sigma 12-24 that I owned almost 2 years. I wanted to have a wider zoom range and was willing to offer some amount on the wide side to have a little more on the tele side. In comparison of sharpness between the 2, Zeiss is the real winner, especially in the center; but it is not by much but still good visible.

The Zeiss is focussing very fast even in dark places and I have to use seldom a torch to help it focus. The Sigma did it not so good and often was wrong focused.

The real bad thing about the Zeiss is that it produces allot of flare. In many situations inside buildings it is even not usable. The Sigma being much wider did a much much better job of it.

If you need a wide zoom lens for using inside industrial sites and challenging light conditions I would stay away from the Zeiss because of the flair, although the color and sharpness is better on the Zeiss, it doesn't rectify the high price that you have to pay for.
reviewer#8478 date: Jan-4-2011
sharpness: 3.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:- 24-70za
- Minolta 17-35/2.8-4
- primes
price paid:trades
positive:+ Build quality
+ sharpness stopped down to F8-F11
+ bokeh is great for wide angle zoom
+ SSM (Fast and silent focusing)
negative:- sharpness wide open in corners and at 28-35 not perfect
- High vignetting at widest focal lengths
- non weather resistant
comment:16-35F2.8 ZA impressive wide angle zoom. I have this lens near a half year. Sold because don't use it often and to buy 24/2. But have good trip with this lens to Egypt.

This lens have best build quality if compare zoom only for a-mount. Size of lens is constant, fells in hand very good. Fast and silent focusing.

IQ is good very good for landscapes. Images have good colors and detailed, than lens stopped down. Corners and bokeh are better than from 24-70. But sharpness wide open is not impressive. More other for my personal taste this lens have better bokeh than 35G. (Don't have much experience with 24/2 to compare right now). CA may easily corrcted in software (ACR, LR. DXO have profiles for this lens).

I don't cityscape shoot, but seems that distortion well controlled.
reviewer#8286 date: Nov-23-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:sigma 15-30
price paid:1300 eur
positive:ultrasharp
f2.8 aperture
nice wide angle range
negative:weight, price
comment:I decided to sell my Sigma 15-30 and buy this lens.
The sigma is slightly wider, but the CZ rocks in sharpness and has f2.8 over the entire zoom range.
Like all wide angle lenses there will be some distortion, especially at the wide end, but it's pretty well controlled on this lens.

The size is similar to the CZA24-70 so prepare to carry around some weight.
reviewer#8262 date: Nov-17-2010
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:
missing
positive:Wide on FF, color, sharp,
negative:Heavy , expensive
comment:This lens loves A900 a lot. And A900 adore this lens even more. I use this lens a lot since I bought it. The wide perspective on FF is just amazing. From all my wide angle lenses I used to have, this lens is the best. After seeing my photos with this lens - 75% of all photos are taken between 16-22mm. At 35mm I noticed it is little bit soft when wide open2.8f, but from 3.5 is sharp again. Great for landscape, indoor, people........ Must have lens for FF
reviewer#8226 date: Nov-10-2010
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 4.1
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tam 11-18
CZ 16-80
Sony 35/1.4
price paid:1479 USD new, fm HK
positive:Overall performance
Solidity
negative:weight
Color rendition
comment:If the weight and solidity won't impress you, the images will. Crisp, juicy, if a bit cool on the WB, and no excessive distortion or flare. Unsharpness in corners can't be denied, but is not an issue for most subjects. The heavy vignetting is! Very acceptable bokeh when you get it (like at 35/2.8).

(edited to remove the lens contact issue--it was a phantom issue)

The reason why I don't give it all fives is because I try to keep the label and Zeiss image out of this and just look at it as a plain, black lens ;)
Me thinks that some reviewers believe, it is a Zeiss, so it must get all fives. Hello!

Oh, and whoever complains about the price, that is something you can definitely expect from a Zeiss! Actually, I think it is very reasonably priced for a Zeiss. If only the performance were in line...

The finely ribbed rings are already collecting dust. Thank you, Sony! My old fingers also can't quickly distinguish them from the rest of the body.

Edit: after some more exposure (no pun intended) I noticed serious flare issues, even if the sun is not within the frame. Shielding the front element from the sun with one hand will make the difference clear. This led to a down-grade of the flare rating.

Also, horizontal distortion is significant at the 16mm end. I can't really imagine any non-fisheye lens of that FL being much or even any better, but it is what it is: distorted. Therefore only a "4".
reviewer#8198 date: Nov-6-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:Carl Zeiss - Vario-Sonnar T* DT 16-80 F3.5-4.5
Carl Zeiss - Vario-Sonnar T* 24-70 F2.8 ZA SSM
price paid:new
positive:excellent build; silent, accurate and really fast AF; internal zoom; close-focus ability;
negative:no dust- or water-sealing; price; more than one time i changed AF/MF by accident; little softness in extreme corners at full aperture on long end; light fall-off wide open;
comment:Colors and contrast are simply great. Bokeh seems to be quite nice. There is possibility to use filters on this lens. This is an extremely well built lens.
SAL-1635Z is the perfect ultra wide angle landscape lens.
reviewer#7699 date: Jul-18-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 17-35 D f 2.8-4
Sigma 10-20 EX DG 4-5.6
price paid:1460 USD
positive:Sharpness, Flare, Color, Silent focus, Build
negative:Weight, Price
comment: I paid $ 208.00 for my 17-35 D f 2.8-4, brand new in the box. It has been a great lens and I have taken many wonderful photos with it over the years,(or so I thought).

So a few folks, myself possibly included, were wunnerin' if I might need ta' have my head examined for goin' an' spendin' sumthin' like seven times as much for a lens that seems ta' be just about tha' same thing?

Day one I was shooting sequential photos at the Skate park and there was a very noticable difference between the Zeiss 16-35 f 2.8 SSM lens and the Min 17-35 D 2.8-4,(my "old" walk-about lens).
The SSM focus is slightly faster and seems to "track" moving objects better. The tack sharpness of the CZ 16-35 over the Min 17-35 D is readily apparent, especially in the corners. The CZ's color seems to differ slightly from the Minolta's,(I like it). The CZ lens is longer and double the weight of the Minolta, which some folks might find cumbersome, but for me it actually seems to balance out my camera a little nicer,(a700 w/VG-C70AM).

So far this lens has been worth every darn penny I paid for it. It's a keeper!
reviewer#7642 date: Jun-29-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Kit Lens 18-55
Kit Lens 55-200
G 70-400
price paid:2750 CHF
positive:F 2.8
very fast and silent SSM
every thing realy!
negative:haven't found any thing yet
comment:Great Lens as expectet from Zeiss and at that Price!
If you have the Money for it get it!
reviewer#7623 date: Jun-27-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:
missing
positive:color
sharpness
build
negative:edge, corner sharpness at 16mm

comment:DXO optics pro can really improve the raw processed at 16mmm with this lens

this is one of the reason for me for using this software versus Lightroom
reviewer#7573 date: Jun-15-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta AF 28-135
price paid:1375EURO(new)
positive:- first class well controlled 'neutrality', unobtrusiveness
- versatility in most light conditions, both inside & outside
- with cropping you get all the zoom pics you want: sharp & telling
negative:Good for the muscles
comment:First impressions compared to my old trusted Minolta AF 28-135: Colour, Sharpness, Weight offer a very familiar feeling. The AF 28-135 introduces 'enhancements', whereas the Zeiss has a constant edge on being/staying more natural. Flare is a big issue on the AF 28-135, a small issue on the Zeiss. Keeping your hand on the sunny side helps with immediate effect on the Zeiss in situations that just became unsolvable for the AF 28-135. The AF 28-135 is a typical outdoor walkabout objective for the big & faraway, the Zeiss takes you inside, lets you come close (30 cm) to whatever attracts the eye. I was looking for an objective that meets the eye; you see something and the Zeiss will capture it without trouble.
reviewer#7550 date: Jun-10-2010
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Nikkor 14-24
Nikkor 17-35
price paid:1490 USD NEW
positive:+Color
+Contrast
+Center performance
negative:-Extreme corners could be better
comment:Will update this, as iv used the lens more.
reviewer#7289 date: Apr-15-2010
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta AF 17-35mm f/2.8-4 D 2695-110
price paid:1400 USD (used)
positive:Visibly better resolution than the Minolta AF 17-35mm f/2.8-4 D. Fast (as always with wide angle lenses) and silent focus. Internal focusing.
negative:
missing
comment:This lens has visibly better resolution than the Minolta AF 17-35mm f/2.8-4 D I owned. The fast (as always with wide angle lenses) and silent focusing is also a plus.
reviewer#7284 date: Apr-14-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 10-20 on A700
price paid:1310 EUR (new, HK)
positive:* Sharp (like prime, starting right from 2.8 in the center)
negative:* Heavy
* Vignetting
comment:It is really at least one class higher than 10-20. Unfortunately, this applies to the size and weight as well. I'd prefer less resistance while using zoom and focusing rings. It is much stiffer compared to SAL70200G. But nothing you couldn't live with.
reviews found: 51    1 2 >>

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 51
  • sharpness: 4.70
  • color: 4.96
  • build: 4.86
  • distortion: 4.47
  • flare control: 4.41
  • overall: 4.68

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